Just 38 Devil's Hole Pupfish Remain

An icon of the conservation movement, the tiny Devil's Hole pupfish was one of the very first species to gain protection under the Endangered Species Act. And yet, after more than 30 years of conservation efforts, just 38 pupfish remain in their unique Nevada habitat.

The pupfish live in a single, 700-square-foot, geothermal pool in a limestone cavern deep beneath the deserts near Death Valley. Their existence was first threatened by agricultural irrigation, which sucked much of the water from the pool. Years of lawsuits and studies and protection measures have done little to help, and some attempts may have even hurt the species.

No one knows for sure how to keep the Devil's Hole pupfish going. But with just 38 fish left, they can't wait too long for an answer.

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